Many Havana casa particular owners are in a flurry that next month their city will welcome royals. On the occasion of Havana’s half-century birthday, official sources have announced that the King of Spain, Felipe VI, along with his wife, Queen Letizia, will be touching down in Havana next month.
Havana will exude royal flair once again and very soon, this time to welcome the Spanish Queen and King while simultaneously celebrating the 500th anniversary of its foundation. Havana casa particular hosts are excited about the upcoming visit, especially those in Old Havana, who are no doubt hoping to catch a glimpse of the royals as they’re taken on a tour of the old part of the city, which seems highly likely as this what the Havana city historian did with Prince Charles and Camilla during their Havana trip last March.
A historic visit with no precedents, the last time a Spanish king visited Cuba on an official royal visit was…well,
never! Which is exactly our point, it will mark the first-ever visit of not just a Spanish monarch but a European monarch in Cuba. King Juan Carlos briefly visited Cuba back in 1999 along with his wife Queen Sophia of Spain, but the occasion was attending the Iberoamerican Summit, and it was a very short, strictly non-state visit as per the request of right-wing Spanish president then, Jose Maria Aznar, who refused to make the visit official (much to Fidel Castro’s dismay). During their few hours in Havana, Queen Sophia did make time to dine at one of the first-ever “paladares” (Cuban private restaurants), and helped on its rise to stardom. She was famously photographed dining at Cuba’s most internationally-famous paladar then (and even more so now), La Guarida.
Could it be that his son and daughter-in-law follow in hers (and Obama’s) footsteps by dining at a privately-owned Cuban restaurant? We know that for them to stay in a Havana casa particular is all but impossible, but perhaps they’ll want to meet some of Havana’s nascent entrepreneurs, and those could indeed include some casa particular owners!
When will the Spanish King and Queen travel to Cuba?
According to the announcement made by Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, the Spanish royal visit will take place right after the Spanish general elections on 10th November, which means that they’ll in Havana right on time to mark the milestone birthday of what once was a Spanish colony, the one that they most fiercely fought to keep and the last of them to become independent in 1868.
According to the latest reports released, theirs will be a long stay, from 11th to 14th November and during their time in Cuba they’ll not stop only at Havana, but will also visit Santiago de Cuba, which was the island’s original capital, and therefore older than Havana. So yes, Santiago’s casa particular hosts will be just as excited, and also, hoping that the occasion helps give more visibility to not just Santiago de Cuba as a destination but also Cuban entrepreneurs there and boost stays in casas particulares in this part of the island.